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Comparing him to that unhappy guest Whose deed hath made herself herself detest: At last she smilingly with this gives o'er; "Fool! Fool!" quoth she, "his wounds will not be sore.'
Thus ebbs and flows the current of her sorrow, And Time doth weary time with her complaining. She looks for night, and then she longs for
And both she thinks too long with her remaining: Short time seems long in sorrow's sharp sustaining. Though woe be heavy, yet it seldom sleeps; And they that watch see time how slow it creeps.
Which all this time hath overslipp'd her thought,
It easeth some, though none it ever cured,
But now the mindful messenger, come back,
Which when her sad-beholding husband saw,
Her lively colour kill'd with deadly cares.
Both stood, like old acquaintance in a trance, Met far from home, wondering each other's chance.
At last he takes her by the bloodless hand,
Sweet love, what spite hath thy fair colour spent? Why art thou thus attired in discontent?
Unmask, dear dear, this moody heaviness, And tell thy grief, that we may give redress."
Three times with sighs she gives her sorrow fire,
Ere once she can discharge one word of woe:
While Collatine and his consorted lords
And now this pale swan in her watery nest Begins the sad dirge of her certain ending: "Few words," quoth she, "shall fit the trespass
Where no excuse can give the fault amending: In me more woes than words are now depending;
And my laments would be drawn out too long, To tell them all with one poor tired tongue.
"Then be this all the task it hath to say :-
Where thou wast wont to rest thy weary head;
And what wrong else may be imaginèd
By foul enforcement might be done to me,
"For in the dreadful dead of dark midnight,
On thee and thine this night I will inflict,
"For some hard-favour'd groom of thine,' quoth he,
Unless thou yoke thy liking to my will, I'll murder straight, and then I'll slaughter thee,
And swear I found you where you did fulfil
The lechers in their deed: this act will be
"With this I did begin to start and cry,
"Mine enemy was strong, my poor self weak, And far the weaker with so strong a fear : My bloody judge forbade my tongue to speak;
No rightful plea might plead for justice there : His scarlet lust came evidence to swear
That my poor beauty had purloin'd his eyes; And when the judge is robb'd, the prisoner dies.
"O, teach me how to make mine own excuse! Or, at the least, this refuge let me find,— Though my gross blood be stain'd with this abuse,
Immaculate and spotless is my mind;
That was not forced; that never was inclined
Lo, here, the helpless merchant of this loss, With head declined, and voice damm'd up with
With sad-set eyes, and wretched arms across,
But, wretched as he is, he strives in vain ; What he breathes out his breath drinks up again.
As through an arch the violent-roaring tide
Even so his sighs, his sorrows, make a saw, To push grief on, and back the same grief draw.
Which speechless woe of his poor she attendeth, And his untimely frenzy thus awaketh :
"Dear lord, thy sorrow to my sorrow lendeth Another power; no flood by raining slaketh. My woe too sensible thy passion maketh
More feeling-painful: let it, then, suffice
"And for my sake, when I might charm thee
For she that was thy Lucrece,- -now attend me; Be suddenly revengèd on my foe,
Thine, mine, his own; suppose thou dost defend
From what is past: the help that thou shalt lend
Comes all too late, yet let the traitor die ;
"But ere I name him, you, fair lords," quoth she,
(Speaking to those that came with Collatine,) "Shall plight your honourable faiths to me, With swift pursuit to venge this wrong of mine; For 'tis a meritorious fair design
To chase injustice with revengeful arms : Knights, by their oaths, should right poor ladies' harms."
At this request, with noble disposition
"How may this forced stain be wiped from